Mike’s Travelogue: Oooh, LA, LA!
SPONSORED POST – If you can only plan one football trip this season, doesn’t it have to be to Los Angeles to see the newest stadium in great weather while it rains at home? Don’t you want to see a huge divisional rivalry in a totally new setting?
The only problem with a trip to the Southland is trying to narrow down your choices of where to spend time! Beaches, amusement parks, hiking, Hollywood star tours, shopping…this list could go on forever. So let’s start with where you want the trip to begin. Alaska flies direct into LAX, Burbank, Ontario, and John Wayne (Orange County). And each has an advantage. LAX will be the closest to the stadium and in the middle of everything. Burbank offers the quickest path to a rental car and it’s only a short trip to Hollywood and downtown. Ontario is east of the city but is great for exploring some of the natural wonder of Joshua Tree or even a drive to Palm Springs. And John Wayne gets you closest to the theme parks in Anaheim and the beaches in Laguna, Huntington and Newport.
I lived a good portion of my life in the LA area so here are a few of my favorite spots.
No reason to go far. Stop for a burger at the Shack in Playa del Rey (185 Culver Blvd). It is right by a small neighborhood affectionately called the Jungle that sits between the cliffs and the beach. It is as old-school Los Angeles beach living as you’ll find and most of the residents grow up there and stay there, spending their days playing beach volleyball and surfing. Then you have a choice: head south to Manhattan Beach where you’ll find the real beach volleyball scene with more than 100 courts set up in the sand. Manhattan also has some fantastic shops and unique restaurants, plus some of the coolest coastal architecture around. Or head north to Venice and Santa Monica. Make sure to see the workout fanatics at Muscle Beach (Venice) and the famed basketball courts as well. Grab coffee at the Cow’s End (34 Washington Blvd) before you go. You’ll need the energy! Santa Monica has the famous pier, but think about walking along Main Street or Montana Boulevard for something slightly different. Then drive up the coast to Malibu and bring your own beverages to Malibu Seafood (25653 CA-1) for an early dinner. It’s hard to beat fresh seafood while looking out at the glorious Pacific.
There are plenty of hotel options in Marina del Rey, or splurge for a night or two at Shutters or the Lowes in Santa Monica!
This is your best bet for seeing Hollywood, Universal City and Beverly Hills. You can stay at the famed Beverly Hilton or the Beverly Hills Hotel, or try some modern luxury at the SLS (with a great rooftop pool). Music fans should see the Sunset Strip and maybe see a show at the Whiskey, the Viper Room or the Roxy. You might catch a celeb sighting at Bar Marmont (8221 Sunset Blvd) or at least recognize it from its numerous appearances in movies and TV shows.
If you are taking the kids to Disneyland and California Adventure, this is the way to do it. And while it’s amazing to stay in the Disney-owned hotels on the property, think about the Hyatt House down the street – it’s a short walk and a nice place.
Nearby Laguna Beach has the walkable streets with funky art galleries, shops and outdoor dining. Las Brisas (361 Cliff Dr) offers fantastic upscale Mexican food with an outdoor patio and view, or if you want to keep it simple, you can’t beat the fish tacos at Wahoo’s (1133 Pacific Coast Highway).
Huntington Beach has more volleyball courts and surfers, but think about a breakfast burrito at The Social (21214 Beach Blvd). You won’t be disappointed.
With all that sightseeing, you must be ready to get to the game!
Stadium: SoFi Stadium
Stadium Food: Burritos La Palma with the flour tortillas
Seattle haunt: Backstage Bar and Grill (Motor Avenue)